Southern Cross Creations
An Australian Woman's Journal
Archive for the Month of February 2003
25 February 2003
Yesterday morning I leaned over to plug in the telephone (unplugged in case of lightning), bracing my other hand on the low stone wall. As I straightened up, I noticed the small, motionless python with its head about six inches from my hand! You little beauty! Moving back,I made room for Jerry to gently wrangle the snake out the window. Not that I mind the little python, I just don't want to sit at the computer while he's so close behind me. I bet he's one of Snakey Boo's offspring. We didn't take a photo, but here's a picture of Snakey Boo in our kitchen sink when he was about the same size. He was real thirsty after shedding his skin and just finished drinking all the water in the teaspoon and bowl. Snakey Boo has grown so large (over 2 metres) that I get a little nervous when he slithers through every year or so.
Yesterday evening I again leaned over to unplug the telephone and there sat a large green tree frog in the exact same spot. Yep. We're having a welcome bit a rain, 21mm so far (less than an inch) and hoping for more as we're still well below average. Walking through the Bush after a rain leaves me with soaked clothing, but loving it. Everything dries instantly when the sun appears and the dog seldom allows us to miss a walk.
Fred the Frilled Lizard continues to hunt insects in the mowed area around the house. Jerry spotted him on a tree trunk and watched patiently. In a first sighting for either of us, Fred extended his frill, shook his head, re-folded his frill before backing down the trunk and dropping to the ground. He strode about on his back legs, then dropped down to catch and eat insects. He's become such a regular that we figured it was time for a name.
Little native lilies appear with the rain, fragile and seldom lasting more than a day. Now that water supply is not such a worry, I'm well underway in washing various bits and pieces of fleece: wool, alpaca and mohair. I've also finished spinning and plying the colour blended, Romney roving that I bought at the Tinaroo Festival of Fibre. Some of it is plied with handspun brown merino.
I like to spin in the evening and lately the beetles attracted to the light overhead have been raining down on both me and the dog who likes to snooze nearby. Those beetles don't fly very well and they crash regularly, ending up in the dog's face, in my lap, down my back or in my batts of fleece where their frantic struggles create felt balls the size of walnuts unless I rescue the beetle quickly. The photo here is a beetle we seldom see. I like his colours.
Okay. One more insect: a cicada on the palm of my hand. He has a couple of drops of rain on his wings and hasn't warmed up enough to fly this early morning.
A lot of yarn is now washed and ready for weaving. Except I want to dye some skeins first. My dye area is open on two sides, so I get good ventilation. However, it has been too hot and humid to consider working over hot pots of dye.
Almost as fast as I wash fleece and it dries, Jerry begins to flick open the tips and then runs the wool through the drum carder. Today he started carding alpaca. He prefers carding wool. The alpaca is slippery, it has hardly any crimp. I can hardly wait to spin it. Am I lucky to have a partner who weaves and enjoys working with fibres, or what?
When you start with raw fleece and transform it into yarn, you get a better understanding of the fairytale about turning straw into gold. I believe that's the magic that all spinners do - and it's a blessing to engage one's hands in such Good Work.
15 February 2003
Now that we've had a bit of rain, we don't feel so paranoid about running out of water. That means I can wash some fleece for spinning. Bags of wool, mohair and alpaca fleece await processing! After they're clean, Jerry runs the fibres through Sheilah's drumcarder to produce splendid batts that are a pleasure to spin into yarn.
We don't spend all our time on handcrafts. Jerry continues to develop his skills in 3D graphics and animation. Here is a sample of one of his work's in progress:
Jerry and I walk regularly along Toy Creek and around the back of our property. Late in January we photographed a plant that we think may be an Australian native ground orchid. I'm hoping one of our friends can tell us the name of this little beauty.
Update: Cliff Elms tells us this is Geodorum pictum. Also known as Shepherd's Crook. We found that EJ Banfield calls it "Queensland's lily of the valley" in his book: Confessions of a Beach Comber.
Click image above for additional photos of this Shepherd's Crook.
When you're the passenger in the car, you're expected to open and close all the gates encountered on any drive in Australia. I hopped out to open our front gate and stopped short when I noticed a frilled lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii) on the trunk of the tree next to the gate. Quite a large fellow he was! Almost 1 metre long (about 3 ft). He rushed further up the tree trunk.
The photo here shows a smaller (younger) frilled lizard that we've seen numerous times near the house. His frill is gathered in a ruffle at his neck and is only extended when he feels threatened. These lizards look fantastic when they stand up on their back legs and run. Click on the image to see a full length photo of this remarkable creature.
While we've had less than 65% of our normal rainfall, I'm thankful for the rain we've had so far. You can smell the rain coming on the gust of wind that usually precedes it. We rush to grab laundry off lines, cover up work benches that might get wet, unplug the modem and phone in case of lightning. Then stand in the doorway and feel a part of this earth accepting heaven's gift. Rain on the tin roof drowns out everything: conversation, the radio, TV. You can tell no one minds when you see the smiles on faces. Trees that looked dead are growing leaves. The blood root lily has appeared in abundance, rather late, and one of my favourites.
Site updated 25 April 2004